Cannabidiol (CBD) is the fastest-growing trend in pet health and wellness. Statistics show that “24% of pet owners use hemp-derived CBD either for themselves, their pets, or for both” and for a variety of conditions, including pain management, stress, and anxiety.
However, the use of CBD for dogs can still trigger questions for pet owners – is pet CBD oil safe? What is the best way to add CBD? Are there any side effects of CBD oil? How to choose the right CBD oil for dogs?
In this article, we will answer the most common CBD questions and thoroughly review the top 5 CBD oils for dogs to ensure a positive CBD experience.
Top 5 CBD Oil for Dogs 2021 at a Glance
- Honest Paws – Best CBD Oil for Dogs
- Simple Wag – Most Affordable
- Four Leaf Rover – Best Natural Ingredients
- NuLeaf Naturals – Best Potency
- Petly CBD – Most Options
How Did We Compile This List?
Third-Party Lab Testing: The first thing we considered was the availability of a Certificate of Analysis (COA). The COA is a document provided by a third-party lab confirming the purity and quality of the CBD product – full chemical breakdown (lots of CBD and no THC) and absence of contaminants (heavy metals, bacteria, preservatives).
Hemp Source: CBD oil for pets must be extracted from hemp and not marijuana. This is because marijuana contains THC, which is toxic to pets. On the other hand, the hemp plant contains less than 0.3% THC, which is too small to cause problems in dogs.
Types of Extracts: There is a big difference between hemp oil and hemp seed oil. The first is extracted from the hemp plant’s leaves, flowers, and stalks and loaded with cannabinoids. The latter is made from hemp seeds and rich in omegas but lacking cannabinoids.
Isolate: CBD isolates are oil formulas that contain only one cannabinoid – cannabidiol. CBD isolates are health-boosting but not as efficient as full and broad-spectrum formulas.
Full Spectrum: Full-spectrum hemp offers maximum benefits for dogs and is stronger than broad-spectrum hemp. This formula has a versatile cannabinoid profile and compounds with entourage effects like terpenes, flavonoids, and omega fatty acids.
Brand Transparency: A reputable brand will be transparent about its products – have the COA available on its official page and review and success stories from satisfied customers. Additionally, a brand confident in the quality of its CBD oil will have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Made in the USA and Organic: Commercial hemp is heavily treated with pesticides and can draw chemicals from the soil, affecting the quality of the end product. Therefore, high-quality CBD for pets must be made from organic hemp grown in the USA, extracted using the CO2 extraction method, and free from GMO ingredients, dairy, corn, soy, and gluten.
Top 5 Best CBD Oil for Dogs Brand Reviews
Summary: If you have quality, safety, and efficacy on your mind, Honest Paws is your perfect choice. Offering condition-specific lines of CBD products and with thousands of satisfied customers, Honest Paws is worthy of the number one rating on our list.
The Honest Paws CBD oil is rated as the number #1 pet CBD brand in the US. Honest Paws offers condition-specific CBD oils made of premium-grade ingredients and available in different potencies. Simply put, the brand offers CBD oils for all dogs regardless of size and underlying issues.
- Condition-specific lines of CBD products
- Full-spectrum, organic, vegan, and human-grade CBD
- Sourced and manufactured in the US
- Certificate of analysis available
- Occasional unavailability
Review: We like the quality of the ingredients used to produce condition-specific CBD lines and the brand’s transparency. We dislike the low stock and occasional unavailability due to high demand. All in all, Honest Paws is our top choice as the best CBD oil for dogs.
Summary: Simple Wags operated under the premise that dogs’ tails were made for wagging, and that can only be achieved through supporting excellent health and wellbeing. To ensure as many happy dogs as possible, Simple Wags offers CBD products at budget-friendly prices.
The CBD oil from Simple Wag is a full-spectrum formula made from 100% pure hemp and is enriched with vitamins, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants. The CBD oil for dogs is potent yet reasonably priced, thus offering an amazing cost to potency ratio.
- Enriched and organic full-spectrum CBD oil
- Lab-tested and USDA certified
- Affordable price tag
- Eco-friendly bottle
- Limited selection of CBD products
Review: We like the richness of the formula, the eco-friendliness of the bottle, and affordability. We dislike the lack of CBD treats and other edible alternatives for dogs that dislike oils. Simple Wag is our top choice as the most affordable CBD oil for dogs.
Summary: Made by Dogs Naturally, the Four Leaf Rover CBD oil moves the boundaries of the pet CBD market. Including carefully selected and 100% natural ingredients, the Four Leaf Rover promotes physical health and supports mental wellbeing.
The Four Leaf Rover CBD oil as a full-spectrum product made of organic hemp offers various health benefits. Additionally, the oil is available at different potencies making the dosing process fairly straightforward.
- Full-spectrum CBD oil with different potencies
- Organic and all-natural ingredients
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Certificate of Analysis available
- Occasional low stock
Review: We like the supreme manufacturing practices and various potencies, which allow easy dosage calculations. We dislike the occasional low stock. All in all, Four Leaf Rover is our top choice as dog CBD oil with the best natural ingredients.
Summary: The pioneer NuLeaf Naturals believes that health starts from within and involves both a healthy body and a healthy mind. The brand formulates safe and efficient CBD oil for pets and offers potent CBD products suitable for dogs of different sizes.
The NuLeaf Naturals CBD oil is a full-spectrum formula featuring various health-boosting cannabinoids. Plus, the oils’ strong potencies make this brand the perfect choice for extra large dogs and dogs needing more significant CBD doses.
- Full-spectrum CBD with different cannabinoids
- Hemp seed oil as a carrier
- Human-grade ingredients and manufacturing practices
- Third-party lab-tested formula
- Lack of CBD oil alternatives
Review: We like the human-grade ingredients and the use of hemp seed oil as a carrier. We dislike the limited selection of CBD products and lack of flavors. All in all, NuLeaf Naturals is our top choice as dog CBD oil with the best potency.
Summary: To compensate for its relatively new presence on the market, Petly CBD decided to take the science behind its CBD products for dogs very seriously. The brand is also dedicated to creating a rich selection of products and with various dog-friendly flavors.
Petly CBD offers broad-spectrum CBD oil for pets made with non-GMO and high-quality ingredients. Its CBD oils are safe and efficient, and most importantly, easy to use because of the dog-friendly flavors.
- Non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free
- Completely THC-free
- Excellent customer service and policies
- Donates for pets in need
- Broad-spectrum CBD formula
Review: We like the quality of the ingredients, the science behind the CBD formula, and the dog-friendly flavors. We dislike the use of broad instead of full-spectrum CBD oil. All in all, Petly CBD is our top choice as CBD oil with most options for dogs.
What is CBD Oil for Dogs?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a naturally occurring compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant. The cannabis plant is an umbrella term including different species but most importantly – hemp and marijuana. They both contain cannabinoids but have different cannabinoid profiles.
In other words, the hemp plant is rich in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), while marijuana is rich in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and low in cannabidiol (CBD). From a practical standpoint, this is important because CBD is safe and has health-boosting effects, and THC is psychoactive and extremely toxic to pets.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs?
Yes, when used correctly and following the manufacturer’s instructions, a high-quality CBD oil is perfectly safe for dogs. According to the World Health Organization report on cannabidiol, “CBD is generally well-tolerated, with a good safety profile.”
A study from the Colorado State University states that “CBD is a well-tolerated supplement.” Similarly, a study that investigated the safety of CBD in pets concluded that “hemp-based CBD appears to be relatively safe in healthy populations of dogs and cats.”
How Does CBD Affect Dogs?
CBD affects dogs by supporting their endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a regulatory system present in all mammals. It is responsible for managing various body functions like metabolism, appetite, sleep, immunity, inflammation, pain, mood, memory, cognition, etc.
The ECS is made of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes, The system regulates the above-listed functions when the endocannabinoids bind with the receptors. Then, once they have fulfilled their roles, the complexes are eliminated with the help of the enzymes.
CBD can replace the body’s endocannabinoids and bind with their receptors. The concept is the same – the bound complex regulates a bodily function, and then the enzymes destroy the complex. In a nutshell, CBD boosts and works through the endocannabinoid system.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog?
There is no predetermined CBD oil dosage guideline for dogs. The general rule of thumb is to give dogs between 1 and 5 mg of CBD oil per 10 pounds of body weight per day.
It is also recommended to start with fewer milligrams and increase the CBD dose as the dog gets used to the new supplement.
There are several ways of adding CBD to your pet’s menu:
- Sublingual CBD administration – you can draw CBD oil into the dropper and squirt it directly into your dog’s mouth. This is a quick-acting approach but not all dogs like the handling and the CBD taste.
- CBD oil during mealtime – alternatively, you can use the dropper to pour the oil into the food bowl and mix it with your dog’s regular food. Start small so your dog cannot sense the flavor and smell changes.
- CBD tincture on a dog treat – you can squirt the oil into a porous dog treat. This is an efficient way of giving CBD to a dog with a delicate palate and dislike of the CBD oil’s earthy taste and pungent smell.
- CBD infused edibles – the modern market offers different CBD edibles (soft chews, bites, and peanut butter. CBD edibles are dog-friendly flavored (chicken, beef) and can be used on the go.
- Homemade CBD treats – you can bake your own CBD treats using high-quality CBD tincture and some dog-friendly ingredients. Just keep in mind that high temperatures can deactivate the health-boosting cannabinoids.
- Topical CBD application – there are CBD products like balms or creams for topical use. They are efficient and practical as long as you can keep your dog from licking them until fully absorbed.
What Dog Health Problems Can Dog CBD Oil Treat?
Since the cannabinoid receptors are distributed in different parts of the body, CBD can help dogs with several health conditions and can also improve general health by boosting the immune system.
The use of CBD oil in pets is still young, and some conclusions about the benefits of CBD oil are drawn from human studies and studies performed on lab animals. With all those results summed up, here are the health problems CBD oil can help treat in dogs.
CBD Oil for Dog Arthritis. Arthritis is a widespread issue among dogs, and it characterizes by progressive inflammation of the joint structures. Dogs with arthritis are in constant joint pain and have limited mobility.
CBD can help with the two basic arthritis problems – pain and inflammation. CBD can prevent pain and alleviate occasional discomfort by interacting with the vanilloid TRPV1 receptors in the brain. Studies show that CBD can help with inflammatory pain – the type of pain dogs with arthritis experience. Additionally, CBD is considered to be a novel anti-inflammatory drug. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties and manages inflammation via several pathways.
Finally, supplementing arthritic dogs with CBD oil can decrease the need for traditional anti-pain medications or even replace NSAIDs in dogs that cannot tolerate this group of anti-inflammatory drugs.
CBD Oil for Dog Cancer. One in three dogs will develop some cancer type at a certain point in its life. Even when not life-threatening, cancer is a debilitating condition that decreases the dog’s quality of life.
CBD is a promising anti-cancer drug that can help dogs on various levels. First, CBD destroys cancer cells and can induce cell death (apoptosis) without damaging healthy cells. Additionally, it has tumor-shrinking features and can prevent metastasis formation by inhibiting angiogenesis.
In addition to inhibiting tumor cell growth, CBD can help with the side effects of conventional anti-cancer treatments such as pain, nausea, and appetite loss. Plus, if combined with other anti-cancer treatments, CBD can boost its therapeutic efficacy.
CBD Oil for Dog Seizures. Seizures are the top most common neurologic disorders in dogs. They are defined as sudden episodes of uncontrolled muscle activity due to electrical misfiring in the brain that causes neuroinflammation.
CBD can reduce both the frequency and intensity of seizures. In a groundbreaking dog study, CBD was found helpful for seizure management in 89% of the cases. Last but not least, CBD can enhance the therapeutic activity of traditional anti-seizure medications. Even synthetic CBD forms have anti-seizure effects.
CBD Oil for Dog Allergies. Allergies are increasingly common among modern dogs and a source of constant scratching and discomfort. There are many known allergens in dogs, including dust mites, pollen, fleas, dander, and foods.
First, CBD manages the universal allergy symptom – inflammation. Plus, allergic reactions are directly linked with the ECS, meaning CBD can help with different allergies, including atopic dermatitis and seasonal allergies.
Labeled as a novel perspective and therapeutic opportunity in skin disease, CBD works by balancing the body’s immune system instead of causing immune suppression. Plus, CBD has antibacterial properties which can help prevent bacterial infections caused by excessive scratching. Finally, its anxiolytic properties will relieve the anxiety due to the continuous discomfort.
CBD Oil for Dog Anxiety. There are two forms of anxiety in dogs – situational and behavioral. Situational anxiety is linked with one-time events like car rides, thunderstorms, or fireworks. Behavioral anxiety is an ongoing issue that stems from previous traumatic events or the fear of being left alone (separation anxiety).
When a dog feels anxious, its brain cells are firing out impulses leading to imbalance. CBD can help manage the chaos through the ECS. The main theory is that CBD acts by changing how the brain responds to serotonin – the so-called “feel-good” hormone responsible for happiness and relaxation.
CBD has a proven anxiolytic effect, and novel studies refer to it as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. It helps relieve general anxiety, thus managing specific environmental stressors like, for example, noise phobias. Plus, the overall calmness and relaxation result in better sleep.
CBD Oil for Dog Hyperactivity. True hyperactivity in dogs is relatively rare. However, many dogs exhibit certain fractions of unwanted hyper behavior. It should also be noted that hyperactivity can be a breed trait and a positively reinforced habit.
Hyper behaviors in dogs are linked with three main chemicals – dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. CBD oil can balance the dog’s mood and emotional wellbeing by modulating their levels.
Plus, CBD oil promotes calmness and relaxation without risking possible side effects associated with certain conventional stimulant medications, which are often classified as potentially harmful or even toxic to pets.
CBD Oil for Dog Glaucoma. Glaucoma affects 1.7% of dogs in North America and is considered a dangerously common eye condition that can lead to blindness if left unmanaged. Primary glaucoma is an inherited condition, and secondary glaucoma is triggered by previous eye trauma.
CBD oil can lower intraocular pressure (IOP) and has neuroprotective actions, which can protect the eye cells from damage and regulate the increased eye pressure. According to a study, chronic use of cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN) leads to a significant reduction in IOP.
Rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene and with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammation properties, CBD oil boosts eye health. Finally, CBD oil can help with glaucoma-related pain and corneal pain because of its ability to improve analgesia.
CBD Oil for Boosted Immunity. A strong immune system is essential for overall health and wellness. In dogs, immunity can be compromised by various pathogens and conditions, leading to decreased health and increased disease susceptibility.
CBD oil supports the immune system by affecting the transient receptor potential vanilloid 2 (TRPV2) – a protein essential for healthy immune function. Plus, CBD promotes gut health, and a large portion of the immune system is located in the GI tract. Modern studies describe CBD as a novel therapeutic for immune modulation.
Additionally, CBD enhances the activity of the natural killer (NK) cells – a specific type of white blood cells specializing in fighting off viral infections. Finally, the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammation properties also contribute to immune health.
Possible Side Effects of CBD Oil for Dogs
Although considered safe, pet CBD oil, just like any other supplement, can cause certain side effects in extra sensitive dogs.
Luckily, the possible side effects are rare, benign, and can be managed through slow CBD introduction and dosage modification. Here is what you can expect after starting your dog on CBD.
- Dry Mouth. CBD can lead to a decrease in the production of saliva. This typically presents itself as an increased thirst in your pet and can also make your pup lick its lips more frequently. Ensure that your dog always has access to fresh drinking water so that it can slake its thirst as needed.
- Low Blood Pressure. If you administer too high a dose of CBD to your pet, it may cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. The drop itself is small, but it can create a transient feeling of lightheadedness in your pup. Be sure to stay within the recommended dosage range for your dog’s weight whenever offering them CBD.
- Diarrhea. This is an expected side effect when adding something new to your dog’s menu. In this case, the gastrointestinal upset is not caused by the CBD itself but rather by the carrier (usually coconut oil) used in the product. This is why it’s important to slowly introduce CBD to your dog, as it gives their body time to acclimate. It’s also a good rule of thumb to offer CBD at mealtime instead of on an empty stomach.
If these side effects persist after a day or two, it is advisable to talk to your trusted veterinarian. It is also recommended you talk to the vet before adding a CBD product to your dog’s health regimen.
CBD can alter the production of liver enzymes, thus affecting the processing of some medications. In simpler words, CBD can either boost or inhibit the therapeutic efficacy of certain prescription and over-the-counter meds.
Last but not least, we should give you peace of mind by stating that dogs cannot overdose on CBD oil. If you accidentally pour few extra drops, your dog will sleep off the effects.
Our Final Thoughts: Best CBD Oil for Dogs
If you were skeptical about pet CBD oil, we hope this article added few bullet points to the list of pros, and you are now willing to start your pup on CBD supplements. CBD has proven health-boosting properties and will help your dog achieve its maximum health potential.
Cannabidiol inhibits paclitaxel‐induced neuropathic pain through 5‐HT1A receptors without diminishing nervous system function or chemotherapy efficacy – Ward – 2014 – British Journal of Pharmacology – Wiley Online Library
The effect of cannabidiol on canine neoplastic cell proliferation and mitogen‐activated protein kinase activation during autophagy and apoptosis – Henry – 2021 – Veterinary and Comparative Oncology – Wiley Online Library